Image taken from the 5-min animated film ‘Compassion for Voices’ (www.compassionforvoices.com)  by Charlie Heriot-Maitland and Kate Anderson

Image taken from the 5-min animated film ‘Compassion for Voices’ (www.compassionforvoices.com) by Charlie Heriot-Maitland and Kate Anderson

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Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research

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Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland - Social-rank threat and compassion in psychosis

A Mood Disorders Centre seminar
Date15 May 2015
Time12:00 to 13:00
PlaceSir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research

Mood Disorder Centre Think-Tank seminar series. All welcome.

Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland from the Kings College London, will be giving a seminar with the title 'Social-rank threat and compassion in psychosis'.

The Think-Tank seminar series is organised by Anke Karl, Lorna Cook, Celia Morgan and Matthew Owens-Solari.


Abstract

People with psychosis live in a constant world of internal and external threat; whether it’s a voice in their head making explicit threats, a feeling they're being watched, a conspiracy, or whether it’s the threat implicit in having their life influenced by outside forces. What this means, at the biological level, is that the entire brain-body system that's evolved to process and respond to threats is being constantly stimulated. And the more this system gets activated, the more sensitised it becomes. As if this weren’t problematic enough, psychotic conditions like schizophrenia carry severe social stigma, and many of those diagnosed will internalise this stigma to experience shame. What this brings is an additional layer of threat, linked to one's social position or social-rank.

This talk will firstly consider the role of social-rank threats in maintaining people’s vulnerability to psychotic states, via continued activation of the threat system. It will then consider the role of social processes in regulating this system, and outline a rationale for compassion-focused therapy (CFT) for psychosis, which aims to target these mechanisms at the individual psychological level. An overview of the key aims, processes and interventions in CFT for psychosis will be provided, followed by a look at some of the projects underway with thanks to funding awarded to Dr Heriot-Maitland (by the MRC for period 2014-2017).

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